Rei Kawakubo was feeling generous to men this season, giving us not only a high concept fashion show that made good sense without a good night’s sleep on it, but also a level of labored construction that people who love fashion for fashion’s sake will fawn over while others make a beeline for Play. The collection was themed around layers, perhaps petals, perhaps the shell of an egg, but also the logical extension of that concept that those layers can restrain and also that something of value is contained within – those looking for a contrary side to the CDG worldview are well catered for on that last point.
The core look of the collection is incredibly ripe for consumption, with easy light fake layered items that are a continuation of techniques CDG has been working on for years now, so hold fire on the Undercoverism comparisons.
The textiles are suitably thin for the spring summer season and in mercifully sombre tones on the whole without feeling too dense.
The first concept that gave a twist to the layered formula was the leather shell that almost contained the flowing tailored layers beneath it. The shapes were defensive, a function usually performed societally by the suit beneath.
As the shells were peeled the next layer that became apparent was a vibrant cultural level hidden beneath the outer layers, it was hard to avoid seeing a saturation of Japanese pop-culture in the mix (especially below), but I will have to wait for the Tokyo showroom to see for myself.
Here it almost felt like the shell was either concealing or protecting the interests of the wearer, it is an active topic in Japanese sociology right now so I wouldn’t put it past CDG.
Next were a couple of looks that seemed to make reference to gender in creating stereotypically feminine shapes from masculine garments, in particular the outfit above uses straps to tighten the waist and pin back the shoulders making a strong outer shell when seen from the front.
Into the meat of the collection and we are greeted with outfit after outfit of technical brilliance that need no words, only applause.
As the peeling off of layers came to an end, just what came emerging from within?
I will leave you to make up your mind about that question – a reference to commercialization? The real clothes movement? Or is that pleated kilt the most telling garment of all?